November 5, 2012

Midfiring Porcelain

These teapots, cups and vessels were thrown and hand built to serve as a children's tea set. About two weeks of trial and error were all it took to make molds of the forms that I can use now to create multiple sets. I am excited to have chosen my new clay: a cone 5 porcelain that I fire to cone 8. This saves some energy but still gives me great results.

After about two months of glaze testing (or more), we had lots of variations in color and some overall great results. The cobalt glazes and a celadon-like copper glaze were among my favorite. I hope to use the left over glaze solutions on tea sets, meaning they will each be unique and represent all of our many glaze tests. I am also using slip trailing (like cake decorating) to personalize tea pots.

Finished tea sets will be available one time only!
Only at East Austin Studio Tours this weekend (Nov 10,11) and next (Nov 17,18).

April 9, 2012

Is it April already?

While I have been busy filling custom orders and testing glazes, my assistant, E Bernard has been taking off with slip trailing! If you want to see more wormy works, visit her blog, and see if you can figure out how she makes the teapot. Answer below.

The Mummy. 12". Pit fired stoneware. 2012.

This is the first year that Big Medium will be putting on a WEST Austin Studio Tours! I plan to have an open house at my house for the event May 19th and May 20th, where I will show the pit fired works from January as a collection. The front yard will be dedicated to a pit fire demonstration and a kids clay corner. WEST is also organizing a group show downtown for the event, so I will have one piece on display for a month. I selected the piece above, which I call, "The Mummy." 

How does she make the teapot? Mad skills.

February 18, 2012

January Pit Fire - Success!

I love this picture! It shows our makeshift kiln and chimney really working, with hot flames underneath. The flames vaporized salts, copper, and organic material to create the flame-licked look I love on pit fire pieces.

I primarily worked from this very helpful link and this video to assemble and prepare materials. Three main potters and lots of friends and family helped make this event a success. It was also a very fun campout weekend, featuring many donuts and soysages. Lots more pictures of the preparation and firing are available on the La Céramique facebook page. Please feel free to check the photos out and be sure to mention if you would like to be invited to see the work on display at my studio in Austin in February.

We are currently cleaning and waxing the pieces back at our studio, as the final stage in pit fire production. This week I will also experiment with some low fire glazes to see if these pots could be rendered more functional with a post-fire in an electric kiln. Pit fire pottery is for decorative use only as it is not glazed and does not reach temperatures much higher than 018.

December 1, 2011

Waxing prophetic

So many holiday shows to prepare for! I have started taking pieces home to work on in the wee hours. These are bisqued pieces that I painted and waxed. The wax portions (yellow here) will resist the green glaze I will apply to the pieces, leaving the white clay exposed in the final piece. So far I have had some great results with this technique.

Green and white leaves along with lots of elephant-themed goodies are on display at Blue Genie Art Bazaar which opened TODAY!

Also, you can find me THIS weekend (Dec 3rd and 4th) at Wheatsville Art Festival and NEXT weekend (Dec 10 and 11th) at Cherrywood Art Fair. Come by to find elegant, handmade gifts for others (or yourself) this December.

November 14, 2011

In The Press

The evolution of a design. I had some time this weekend to develop a few designs for refrigerator magnets, give some impromptu hands-on clay workshops to kids, and catch up with some old friends. I'm not going to lie to you, things were a little slow at E.A.S.T. on Saturday, despite being a top 25 pick of the Austin Chronicle for 2011! Here is what Robert Faires had to say:

Madelaine Plauché

2710 E. Cesar Chavez, 524-0354,

All her simple, elegant ceramic wares are captivating, but the teakettles and jars with Asian elephant designs are worth trumpeting for.

Ha ha! Still one more weekend of E.A.S.T. to go. Come on by to see the artist at work!

November 11, 2011

Revved for E.A.S.T.

These and many other elephant themed pottery anxiously await their new homes!

Tomorrow is the first day of the 10th anniversary East Austin Studio Tour! I'll be joining a great crew of artists at Ryan McKerley's studio to sell and show my most recent work and to take in the general great vibe that E.A.S.T. offers. Here's the info:

2710 E. Cesar Chavez
Sat Sun and next Sat Sun

Both the quality and quantity of my pottery pieces has grown since the arrival of Eliana, my new assistant! She is very skilled and productive and with someone else in the studio holding me accountable, my own work habits are top notch these days. Come see for yourself!

October 5, 2011

Production pottery

Here comes the busiest time of the year for me!

I have two main lines this fall: The textured green functional wear decorated with flower and elephant stamps, and the white, clean-lined functional pieces that are hand-painted, often with red flowers. This picture shows my sketches and plans for the former, along with estimates for how many days each will take, all in preparation for Blue Genie Art Bazaar , East Austin Studio Tours, and other Christmas shows. The elephant mugs you see towards the bottom will be sold for the first time this Saturday at Sunset Valley Farmer's Market.

The absolute low point of the month was accidentally cc'ing the entire list of East Austin Studio Tours (yes, over 300 artists) on an email with the following text:

Please reword the first sentence slightly so that it reads:

"My ceramic work combines simple, functional forms with decorative motifs and techniques drawn from a variety of cultures."


Thanks! I don't know how to use a computer!

Also a quick sketch of one of my kitties that may make it onto a pot some day. Its funny how he always has one paw tucked under his body. Yes, Rory, you have a beautiful tummy. I will pet it as soon as I finish waxing the bottom of these mugs...